Feeds

Comet ISON perhaps NOT GARBAGE after all - glows GREEN in latest snaps

Derided mere weeks ago as washout, looking good again

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The highly anticipated Comet ISON, which earlier this month was dubbed not "visually pleasing" by the NASA astroboffins who snapped it with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has had its portrait taken again as it wends its way towards its rendezvous with the Sun.

The result this time was far more impressive.

Comet ISON (Credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona)

ISON's green glow may be due to the presence of carbon molecules (click to enlarge; credit: Adam Block)

This new image was taken by astrophotographer Adam Block on October 8 using an SBIG STX-16803 camera with a hefty 36.8-by-36.8 millimeter CCD sensor that provides a 16.8 megapixel image, attached to the University of Arizona's 32-inch Schulman Telescope.

The image of ISON, which was discovered last year by amateur Russian astronomers Artyom-Kislovodsk and Vitaly Nevsky using the International Scientific Optical Network’s (ISON) 0.4 metre reflector as it entered the outer solar system from the Oort Cloud, seems to indicate that the comet is still holding up quite nicely on its way to the Sun, and not breaking up as some had feared.

ISON will make its closest pass around ol' Sol on November 28 at 23:00 GMT, at which time it will be within 730,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) of the solar surface – although saying exactly where the solar "surface" begins is a bit of an inexact science.

If it survives that close encounter of the toasty kind, ISON may become quite spectacular, possibly being easily visible to the naked eye before and after its whiplash around the Sun.

Or not. Comets are notoriously unpredictable beasts. The truth is, no one really knows how ISON will perform when it meets up with the sun – and anyone who says otherwise is either trying to pull the wool over your eyes or is simply wrong.

Your humble Reg reporter, however, having lived through such duds as Comet Kohoutek in 1973 and Comet Halley in 1986, and the decidedly less-disappointing Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997, would greatly enjoy a big ol' sky show in late November and early December.

Not likely, but the night sky is a great place for optimistic dreaming. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.